Cara Seymour: A WOMAN, A PART

Review from Rotterdam by The Hollywood Reporter

Excerpt about Cara:

“Likely to score a respectable amount of further festival bookings plus brief runs in US art-houses, it’s chiefly notable for Cara Seymour’s nuanced supporting turn as Anna’s sometime best friend Kate.

The Englishwoman, with her slightly androgynous appeal and woundedly empathetic mien, forms a missing link in a thespian lineage includes higher-profile UK performers such as Charlotte Rampling, Tilda Swinton and Samantha Morton. Despite making considerable impact in Hotel Rwanda, Gangs of New York, Dancer in the Dark and Adaptation, among others, Seymour has somehow never quite attained the household-name status her talents deserve …”

IMDb headshot

NY Times Review ‘Gibraltar,’ Adapted From ‘Ulysses,’ Plays at Irish Rep

It takes audacity to adapt James Joyce’s “Ulysses” for the stage. No wonder Patrick Fitzgerald’s “Gibraltar” — starring himself and Cara Seymour, now at the Irish Repertory Theater — is subtitled “An Adaptation After James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses.’ ” Any stage version can only graze the book’s infinite layers. But there are plenty of those layers here.

“Gibraltar” jettisons Stephen Dedalus, the young academic character whose story threads through the novel, to focus on the advertising salesman Leopold Bloom and his younger wife, Molly. (One early domestic scene — Bloom’s trip to the outhouse for some reading and blithe defecation — demonstrates the play’s fidelity to the book’s candor.)

The couple’s sex life has suffered since the death of an infant son years before, and Bloom hopes that by tolerating Molly’s affair with the macho hothead Blazes Boylan, he will appear more sensitive by comparison.

Molly and her lover are to have a 4 p.m. assignation while Bloom does errands around Dublin, whose 1904 atmosphere is skillfully evoked by Alma Kelliher’s unobtrusive sound design and Sarah Bacon’s costumes. Ms. Seymour plays many of the citizens Bloom briefly encounters: a newsboy, a pharmacist, a bookseller.

As Bloom’s day unfolds, the density of Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness prose — staccato bursts of thought brimming with historical references, aphorisms and wordplay — grows in Mr. Fitzgerald’s delivery. Even when its meaning is elusive, the language sings. (Credit Mr. Fitzgerald and the director, Terry Kinney, for hewing to Joyce’s tone.) Bloom attends a funeral at Glasnevin Cemetery; dines at the Davy Byrnes tavern, where he encounters an Irish republican; and enjoys a reverie at Sandymount Strand.

Act II presents the closing aria: Molly’s soliloquy, a sparkling river of observations, reminiscences and graphic sexual imagery recited at night upon Bloom’s return. (Paul Hudson’s gentle lighting, a field of stars behind a scrim, exquisitely sets the mood.) As Mr. Fitzgerald, playing the Narrator, sits by her bedside, Molly evolves from a dreamy state into a serene rapture. Ms. Seymour, recessive so far, glows.

As Bloom, Mr. Fitzgerald resembles Joyce, though more muscular, while Ms. Seymour is a fair visual approximation of Nora, Joyce’s uneducated wife, indispensable muse and model for Molly. When Mr. Fitzgerald departs from the book, with his Narrator interrupting Molly’s monologue with biblical phrases, he alternates the sacred with the sensual (and to some ears, the obscene). In his bond with Nora, Joyce reveled in such a juxtaposition. In “Gibraltar,” we do as well.

“Gibraltar” runs through July 14 at the Irish Repertory Theater, 132 West 22nd Street, Chelsea; (212) 727-2737,

“The Freedom of The City”

“Sociopolitical themes are invariably woven into the fabric of the great contemporary Irish dramatist Brian Friel’s works, but few are as direct in their focus as “The Freedom of the City,” which is being given A TRENCHANT REVIVAL at the Irish Repertory Theater. Staged by Ciaran O’Reilly with a firm handle on the narrative’s time-shuffling structure and a stinging clarity that illuminates this 1973 play’s multiple perspectives, THE DRAMA STEADILY TIGHTENS ITS GRIP, right up to its shattering conclusion. Given that the outcome is revealed from the start, and that there are somewhat didactic detours along the way, THE PLAY’S EMOTIONAL IMPACT IS ESPECIALLY NOTEWORTHY. Those three lead performances — Ms. Seymour’s the most quietly wrenching — put a haunting human face on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.”
— The New York Times


Review: Brian Friel’s ‘The Freedom of the City’ is compelling, angry political drama

Shirley Herz Associates, Carol Rosegg/Associated Press –  This photo provided by Shirley Herz Associates shows, from left, Cara Seymour, James Russell and Joseph Sikora, in a scene from Brian Friel’s drama, ‘The Freedom of the City’, currently performing off-Broadway at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York.
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By Associated Press, Published: October 15

NEW YORK — Brian Friel is a master at beginning his plays at the end. Even though we know the outcome, his compassionate interpretation of events and their aftermaths often sheds light on social issues both specific and universal.

His angry and deeply moving 1973 political drama “The Freedom of the City” is about the murder of three unarmed Irish civilians by British troops after a civil rights march in Northern Ireland. Friel’s ironically-titled work is based on real events that occurred in January 1972, when British soldiers killed 13 Irish citizens in similar circumstances, on what became known as Bloody Sunday
Ciaran O’Reilly directs a talented ensemble cast of nine in the thoughtful, quite stirring production that opened Sunday night off-Broadway at the Irish Repertory Theatre. O’Reilly cleverly stages Friel’s multiple narratives, making excellent use of his small stage and cast, deftly showcasing a wide array of events and locations.

The focus is on an intimate setting inside a staid town hall where the three main characters spend their final afternoon. These ordinary civilians, later wrongly deemed by the official investigation to be “terrorists,” have stumbled into the town’s Guild Hall to escape being tear-gassed by British paratroopers after a public rally.

Scenes of their colorful chat and innocent enjoyment of the luxuries they find in the mayor’s comfortable office are juxtaposed with flashes of the ongoing violence and misinformation outside. Stark contrast is provided by untrue statements from British law enforcement personnel during the subsequent investigation into their deaths.

The impoverished, ill-fated locals include Lily Doherty, cleaning woman and mother of 11 children, (a radiant performance by Cara Seymour), and two young men: Adrian Skinner is a sarcastic petty criminal, (Joseph Sikora, edgy and raucous), and Michael, a hardworking, idealistic student, who is given an earnest, uneasy air by James Russell.

Seymour is wondrously expressive, wearing a sweet, reflective and often mumsy demeanor. Lily offers up wry commentary as she and Skinner sip some of the mayor’s fine liquor and open up a little about themselves, even doing some singing and dancing. Sikora is alternately impulsive and cynical, while Skinner’s bitter flippancy seems most attuned to their possible fate. Russell radiates the uneasiness of upright Michael, who doesn’t enjoy his companions’ casual humor.

John C. Vennema is smug and querulous as an “objective” British tribunal judge who reaches inaccurate, clearly prejudiced conclusions. Politely condescending lectures about “the culture of poverty” are provided by Christa Scott-Reed as an American sociologist. Ciaran Byrne is appropriately outraged as a Catholic priest as politicians, the Church and media all use the trio’s fate to serve their own agendas. Clark Carmichael mournfully sings a couple of ballads conveying the folk-hero status bestowed upon them.

Set designer Charlie Corcoran has effectively created the gloomy town hall, while dramatic lighting enhances each vignette and explosions outside increase the tension. “All over the world, the gulf between the rich and the poor is widening,” the sociologist solemnly notes, like it was something new. Many of Friel’s observations about poverty and power in this compelling work from four decades ago remain unfortunately truer than ever today.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Set in Derry, Northern Ireland during the aftermath of a civil rights meeting, THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY revolves around an inquiry into the shooting by British soldiers of three marchers as they emerge…
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